Travel through Time and Space with Chef Stephan Zoisl

My Private Chef brought a themed experiential dinner to Kuala Lumpur. The eight-course menu brought our client’s guests on a journey with Chef Stephan Zoisl as he travelled through eight key moments in human history. Each course has a unique flavour or character for every historical era.

Here is a glimpse of the journey of this dining experience.

Pre-Dinner Reception: Creating Culinary Magic using Nitrogen by Chef Stephan Zoisl

Innovation – The Name of the Game

Like many events around town, it is always challenging to find ways to make a conference more dynamic. Something that would draw in the crowd and is engaging. 

My Private Conference recently embarked on a project with the Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI) – namely CHI INNOVATE 2019. The conference was held in conjunction with the official opening of the new Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation, a 9-storey purpose-built conference, learning and innovation hub. With a theme titled “Change Our Future!”, the challenge…how to make the conference innovative enough to change the future?

Charmaine Tan, Senior Event Specialist of My Private Conference, says that content must be strong. Content that the audience would be interested in — that means in-depth research that grasps their personal challenges and finding the right and engaging subject experts. CHI INNOVATE 2019 curated a unique programme by looking at innovation beyond the healthcare industry. Additionally, they also played with the conference format by including a live pitching session called “Lion’s Lair” focusing on the theme “Hospital to Homecare”, as well as a debate called “Faceoff: Mandatory Health and Fitness Tracking is Great for the Population”.

Faceoff: Mandatory Health and Fitness Tracking is Great for the Population

How did these things all come to life? My Private Conference provided end-to-end event management. In addition, My Private Conference went a step further by collaborating closely with CHI and provided services such as programming consultancy, budgeting, marketing, management of sponsorship and exhibitors, on top of registration management and general event planning. 

A strong content forms the core of any conference, but it is also the small details that add value to an event. My Private Conference helped to create a knowledge sharing platform where healthcare community interest groups could gather and collaborate, setting opportunities for business matching, as well as learning and education through exhibitor talks. This allows the learning to go beyond the conference.

Learning and Education Tours

So how do we keep the audience engaged throughout the two day conference? It is crucial to balance the keynote speeches with the out-of-the-box engaging activities that audience can participate in. Such examples include partner showcases, site visits, as well as casual interest group meetups. The casual meetups involve introducing a host who is an expert on a topic and facilitating a sharing of minds between host and attendees. It is also through programmes like “Lion’s Lair” and “Faceoff” that allows the audience to participate through voting polls and Q&A sessions.

Unity Wall Exhibit
Community of Practice Discussion
Voting Polls

The conference was timed to coincide with the inauguration of the Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation. The briefing for the inauguration began with the client’s wishlist to showcase the building’s windmill on its garden terrace. The idea needs to represent the winds of change and to ensure that 50 VIPs were able to participate in the ceremony. Since installing a windmill indoors was not feasible, My Private Conference practically incorporated CHI’s requirements with some creativity. The concept was crafted by giving every guest a handheld LED-lit windmill. With audience participation lit up the entire auditorium and the opening ceremony literally took flight as Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister For Health, launched an electronic kite above the audience. The kite was joined by two other kites as they danced above the auditorium.

Opening Ceremony: Kite Launching

Innovation takes a great partnership and co-creation between the event planner and client. It originates from both parties being open to new ideas and allowing creativity throughout the event planning process. My Private Conference takes pride in understanding the client, delivering beyond what the client wants as well as what their event needs, and providing that extra dash of flair. CHI INNOVATE 2019 attracted over 800 participants. Overall, a very well attended, enlightening  and meaningful event that My Private Conference is proud to support this community healthcare innovators in Singapore.

CHI Innovate 2019 Full Video Highlights:

Chinese New Year Dinner with a Difference – It is Possible!

Chinese New Year. It is a similar formula every year of endless banquet dinners, traditional red outfits and loud entertainment. When it comes to corporate Chinese New Year events, invitations arrive thick and fast, and it becomes difficult to not feel fatigued and overly satiated from all the extravagance.  So, how do you make your Chinese New Year celebration stand out? Founder of My Private Chef and My Private Conference provides a few examples from years gone by.

“Instead of serving the same old traditional menu every year try highlighting traditional or auspicious ingredients in new dishes.  Ingredients such as pineapple, abalone, fish, mandarin oranges or Fat Choy, which symbolises wealth, can be cooked in new and different ways.  I remember one year we engaged the world’s only Michelin-starred Peranakan chef to curate a Chinese New Year feast that was true to the his roots yet the menu was unique from other Chinese New Year dinners.

But it is not just about food, event styling is important too.  For a financial institution that requested a modern Chinese New Year dinner for their clients, we suspended over 200 lanterns, a chic blend of traditional Chinese and modern, from the ceiling. These were accompanied by a modern Chinese jazz band and an equally modern Chinese menu that was individually plated.

Even the venue can make a difference. One year we arranged the dinner in a marquee just to get out of the typical hotel ballroom and added entertainment in the form of an Asian fusion percussion performance.

Personalised activities are a huge draw for our clients, and the team always enjoy the challenge of conceptualising interactive experiences that impress. This has seen events where guest’s surnames have been calligraphed onto lanterns and Chinese fans, or meet & greet sessions for VIP guests with the celebrity entertainer”

CNY-combined

With many companies tightening entertainment budgets though, this means that event agencies need to work smarter for higher impact, such as matching the client with a suitable lifestyle partner for a modern Chinese fashion show or dancers who integrate their routines with an animated backdrop to elevate the experience. Personalised dinner activities can also be quite affordable, yet leave people feeling like they received a special treat. It is all in the execution.

Even for the clients who are seeking the traditional red and gold spread, My Private Chef has the expertise to ensure that the cuisine dished up will be a spectacular feast for the senses. Whichever direction you choose to take your Chinese New Year corporate festivities, you can count on My Private Chef to bring original ideas for entertainment, gifts and cuisine – especially cuisine – that is different from all the rest. Make your event the one that guests will look forward to till the next Chinese New Year rolls around.

How to Keep Your Event Audience Engaged

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We are living in a time of content overload where more information is generated each day than one can consume in a lifetime. On top of that, the mode for information consumption has shifted towards a preference for engaging two-way dialogue, as opposed to just being fed with content and not having the opportunity to interact or find out more. It is vital as companies or brands with business objectives that your messages cut through the clutter and reach its intended audience in a way that resonates. So how is this done at events?

 

Involve and immerse the audience

In order to engage guests in a dialogue, interactive and immersive experiences are a must. With so many event invitations floating around securing RSVPs has become more of a challenge, so even your invite has to inspire.  Although email is the most common channel, direct mail is now seen as prestige and invitations do not just have to be 2D, My Private Chef has sent ingredients in test tubes that contained the key ingredients from the special dinner to synchronise with the event theme of “Travelling with Time and Space” with their top clients.

At the event itself we hope for audience interaction but sometimes they need a helping hand, here is where technology can really help.  Polling applications and Q&A tools such as Pigeonhole and SpotMe give audiences the confidence to speak up without having to raise their hands or step up to a microphone.  Live displays such as word clouds mean you no longer need to opt for a static backdrop but can pick one that evolves with the discussions on and off stage. In addition, different delivery format such as debates, fireside chats or user generated topics will also help to increase the audience engagement.

Communication is not limited to words however, at My Private Chef we frequently embed storytelling into our menus and food too as our chefs work with specific ingredients and dishes to complement the event theme or brand message.

 

It’s obvious! Don’t state the obvious

When people have given up their time or even spent money to attend your event, it is important to deliver real value in the content.  This means not repeating received wisdom or quoting old sources.  You need to tell new stories or at least tell old stories in new ways to surprise and engage your delegates, and keep them off their cell phones!  And one other tip, no matter how talented or experience your speakers that is no excuse not to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

With a team boasting over 40 years’ of conference and exhibition experience collectively, My Private Conference can happily assist with speaker engagement and management. This can include identifying and engaging the right speaker for your events; reviewing the speaker’s content and drawing out the most relevant knowledge and messages to add depth to your event.

Here is My Private Chef & My Private Conference founder Crystal Chua’s top tips for better event content:

  1. Plan ahead and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
  2. Pair the right speaker to the right content; just because they have the top job title doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the top speaker.
  3. Timing the content over lunch or dinner is intricate. To avoid distractions and maximise attendee engagement, it is important to design a menu that is not distracting and conducive to the content delivery schedule and channels.

When done correctly, the benefits can be immense. Enjoy a greater reputation as a host of engaging events that will drive RSVP rates, improved clarity and recall rates of your intended messaging, and naturally, conversion rates for the business.

New To The Table: My Private Conference

In response to growing demand for enhancing client conferences with engaging and strong programs, My Private Chef is thrilled to unveil our new sister brand…

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My Private Conference focuses on thought leadership and knowledge sharing events for corporates and brands. Beyond seamless event management, our experienced conference team can create programs, manage speakers and sponsors, handle delegate marketing, event design, registration and audience engagement with a particular flair for the finance, technology and healthcare sectors.

Founder of My Private Chef and My Private Conference Crystal Chua believes launching the conference division was the next natural step for the My Private brand.

“Our team collectively brings over 40 years’ experience in driving ticketed and “By-invite” conferences across Asia and Europe, so we already have the production and program enhancement expertise beyond general conference management. Of course, we will still apply our expertise in dining events to conferences whenever necessary, and you can be sure that our clients can enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to food and entertainment!”

Handling conferences across Asia Pacific, major events have already included interactive R&D lab tours and press conferences for FMCG giants, such as Procter & Gamble’s number 1 haircare brand, Pantene, or Johnson & Johnson’s ACUVUE® contact lens brand. There have also been market outlook conferences and monthly financial educational seminars for financial institutions; and regional conferences for leadership management teams from companies such as Allianz.

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Anna Sigrist, Regional Corporate Communications for Allianz SE, shared more on her experience working with the team for her event, “Working with My Private Chef for the AZI Asia Conference was a great experience! They get what we want, pitching ideas that relate well to our event objective and overall theme. They were also tight on follow up and helped with proposing ideas to make our conference more interactive and fun for our delegates!”

Most recently, My Private Conference has been hard at work on the Centre for Healthcare Innovation’s Innovate 2019 conference that we were thrilled to win with our creative solutions  and ideas to generate engagement.

To Crystal, the utilization of modern technology, audiences’ shortened attention spans and the trend of increasingly personalised content has heralded the evolution of the traditional conference format. “Gone are the days where audience will accept one-way conference presentations. With a strong grasp of the audience profile and industry challenges, we strive to help our clients enrich interaction with engaging content pre, during and post events, thus improving event turnouts and profitability in the process.”

For ideas on how to engage your audience effectively contact ask@myprivatechef.com.sg

Fresh From The Chefs

The team at My Private Chef takes significant pride in the dining experiences they create, and it is only made possible with the close collaboration of our chef partners. This issue, some of our favourite chefs – who will also be featured in our portfolio of chefs at the National Gallery Singapore – have dished out what it is like working on gourmet events, the challenges, the highlights and the efforts required to bring their recipes to life.

Chef Lino Sauro – Chef & Owner of Gattopardo Ristorate Di Mare

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1. How long have you been working with My Private Chef?
Gattopardo has been working with My Private Chef for over three years.

2. How is being a chef at a restaurant different to being a chef at a corporate function?
At a restaurant, you “play at home” and all is under control most of the time. Performing outside and dealing with corporate clients can be challenging, but definitely very exciting as well as fulfilling, especially when we are working alongside established dining event agency – My Private Chef. 

3. What are the most challenging conditions you have experienced for a corporate dining event?
Well, every function is different. Some could have a very easy format, but turn out to be super difficult. Others that we expect to be very challenging may turn out to be super successful and easy. One of the biggest challenges is to tailor a menu that can match a client’s needs as well as features a menu structure that can be created with the facilities at the offsite venue. Thankfully, My Private Chef handles the client liaison to ensure there is a good balance between client expectation and reality of what can be achieved offsite.

 

Chef Siang Teo – Captain, Singapore Culinary Team (IKA Olympics 2016)

siang teo

 

1. What do you enjoy about working on dining corporate events?
I have been doing offsite catering for four years and every event is different, I enjoy the process of engaging with the client and helping them execute their special menus smoothly.

2. What are the most challenging conditions you have experienced for a corporate dining event?
Once, we had three VIP sit-down dinners on the same night at three different locations. The amount of logistics and planning involved is massive but I am glad the team pulled it off and clients were happy.

3. What sets My Private Chef apart from other event agencies?
The difference has to be My Private Chef’s emphasis on food quality. The team at My Private Chef have a stringent vetting process of all the chefs that they work with. And the best thing for us chefs is we do not have to worry too much about setup.  The kitchen is already set up according to our requirements by My Private Chef. Chefs just roll up to focus on what we are good at and cook no matter where the events are!

 

Chef Stephan Zoisl – Director and Founder of Chef’s Table

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1. How do you ensure that your menu complements the theme of the event?
First of all, it is important to understand the objective of the event and the clients’ expectation and preferences. This becomes clearer via thorough communication between client, dining agency and chef. Several other factors to take into account include the theme, budget and event flow.

2. What is the most creative menu or food demo you have created at a corporate dining event?
A few years ago, we did a garden themed event where we created an edible garden display. On another occasion, we created live edible art demos, where we did edible painting with liquid nitrogen. Such occasions truly allow chefs like myself to unite the chemistry between food, art and human engagement.

3. Why would event hosts choose to go with private chefs rather than employing the caterers at the venue?
Firstly, this depends on the client. Private chefs will be more flexible in creating something more unique. As there are less restrictions, it is easier for us to be creative. Event caterers can sometimes be very restricted by their own rules and budgeting.

Lights, Cameras, Action!

Those flashing lights, clicks of the camera and the glittering spectacle of a glitzy event. There is something about it all that seems so glamourous and exhilarating. The challenge is making it look like it is effortless. That is the impression that the event agency wants guests to perceive anyway. Little do many people know is what is going on behind the scenes. Here, we take you backstage for a sneak peek into the extremely precise and adrenaline-inducing world of pre-event setup.

 

Behind the scene tips for your events

Behind the scene tips for your events

 

Event Conceptualisation

Event designs are always driven by the event theme or corporate message. Hence the agency and client must have a robust direction so that the event designs can reinforce the very objective of the event. It is crucial to have a clear vision of how everything will come together. Each facet may look impressive or stylish individually, but when combined in a setting with other items, it must look SHOWSTOPPING!

Colour proofs are vital to ensure that the exact colours are selected and aligned upon. Due to varying screen resolutions or colour compositions, what appears on a 3D rendering may not be reflective of the final output. Completing the final artwork approximately two to three weeks prior to the big event day will ensure that one receives the colour proofs in time for approval.

 

Setting the Stage

Take no risks when planning for lighting and AV. These are two elements that no one pays too much attention to when all is going well. However, it will automatically become the bitter after taste to any event if technical issues arise. Over planning in this instance is necessary. As the heavy lighting and AV equipment would usually be setup the day prior or early on event day, do make time for onsite finetuning.

Experienced and reliable technical support is worth the investment, as reducing the chance of even a second of down time is invaluable. Make time to run through AV sound checks and stage calling dry runs of various lighting and sound cues – Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse!

 

Emcee and Live Entertainment

As the main person who is fronting the event, an engaging and charismatic emcee who knows how to read and work the crowd is key. To ensure that the emcee has sufficient time to grasp the tone and key messages of the event, share the final script over a comprehensive briefing session at least 3 days prior to the event.

Entertainment can come in the form of live bands, comedians, acrobats, dancers, or even professional yodellers. Regardless, it is imperative for corporate events that the content matches with the host’s company culture. In the event you select entertainment that have customised their performance for the occasion, be sure to thoroughly brief the performers to ensure that their content is the ideal fit.

In the hours leading up to the big event, the stage caller will rehearse with the emcee and entertainment, ensuring that everyone is clear on the timing cues and exactly where each individual needs to be at any given time. It is also crucial to communicate what may potentially crop up in case the emcee has to help smooth things over spontaneously during the program.

 

Finishing steps to ensure a hospitality event is enjoyable and effortless

Finishing steps to ensure a hospitality event is enjoyable and effortless

 

Dining Coordination

As you can imagine, dining timing and flow are very important and closely tied to the program. Equally crucial is the aim to make everything look smooth and effortless as the guests enjoy themselves. From menu conceptualisation to the tempo at which dishes are served and how food ties with the stage entertainment, the team at My Private Chef have run myriad dining events to understand how staffing, food presentation and service workflow will affect an event’s success. As a dining event agency, clients hold high expectations for the team to ensure the calibre of dining service, quality ingredients as well as impressive food presentation and flavours when they hire the team to take care of their events.

For all of these various event components, the universal truth is that it is all in the details. Brought together in position, on cue and served fresh, that is when the magic happens!

 

A Delicious Spin on Your Offsite Events

When guests fly in from overseas to take part in your conference, how do you make it something extraordinary, that stands out from all the other conferences that they may attend?

Offsite events are usually the side programs within the overall conference that aim to take the attendees out of the conference venue for some fresh air or facilitate creative ways for colleagues or counterparts to network. This could take place in the form of team building activities, sightseeing or an evening of entertainment.

Since great food and drinks are a necessary part of the program, spicing up the dining experience is a highly effective way to elevate the first impression of your offsite event experience.

Mixology classes allow guests to let loose a little while exploring a topic that would be of interest to many

Mixology classes allow guests to let loose a little while exploring a topic that would be of interest to many

To help pique your taste buds and appetite for adventure, some examples include: a specially curated guided museum tour during a cocktail party; a secret supper at an undisclosed venue for a fun-loving and adventurous group of guests; or even a “Behind the scenes” approach, where guests can escape the hotel confines and partake in factory/winery/farm tours to discover the origins behind a local specialty, also giving them a chance to gain a greater appreciation of the conference location.

Going to great lengths to ensure that every element of the event adheres to the theme takes dedication, but the results are worth it!

Going to great lengths to ensure that every element of the event adheres to the theme takes dedication, but the results are worth it!

My Private Chef Director, Crystal Chua, describes one of her favourite F&B offsite events, recalling how “one of our clients’ guests were bussed to a secret venue, which turned out to be an aircraft hangar outside the city. Not only was it a huge surprise and a cool location, but the event theme was aviation, so food, decor, venue and photo booth all came together very well. The best thing was that it is not something you can enjoy at a regular hotel or restaurant.”

It is offsite hospitality event experiences like these that set My Private Chef apart. “Having spent a whole day stuck in a conference room, our clients simply want to rejuvenate their guests with an offsite event that is out of the ordinary. We pull together remarkable dining experiences by providing outstanding food that not only delights the senses, but also complements the event theme or guest profile. Moreover, the activities or entertainment we arrange also work to subtly embed messages and social touch points to drive home a stronger impression.”

Understanding the guest profile is also key to designing the optimal event program guaranteed to be enjoyed by the target audience. Crystal sums it up nicely, “It’s a matter of different strokes for different folks, but possessing those insights are crucial for tailoring the perfect program that also drives new knowledge of the industry or builds attendees’ affinity with the company goals. Arranging an unforgettable event experience that the guests cannot simply book themselves is what elevates these offsite events into THE must-attend one on everyone’s calendars.”

FRESH off the Menu – April

The team at My Private Chef have been most fortunate to work with a great variety of clients – many entrusting the team with their hospitality events for many years.

Luxury watch brand, Tag Heuer, is one of those long term clients that the team are grateful to call event partners. They encourage My Private Chef team to get creative with unique F&B experiences at their boutiques, as well as large-scale events.

Premium branding collateral that add share-worthy interaction with Tag Heuer’s brand

Premium branding collateral that add share-worthy interaction with Tag Heuer’s brand

We are delighted to be their event partners, and thrilled with the testimonial that Marketing Manager of Tag Heuer, LVMH Watch & Jewellery Singapore Pte Ltd, Mel Cheng, shared:

“I have had excellent working experiences with My Private Chef for four years now. Their specialty in menu customization and curated services are what makes them stand out in the industry. They have always ensured consistency of great services and reliability in every event that we have worked together on. I look forward to more fabulous partnerships in the future!”

Live events at high-traffic locations, such as Orchard Road, will keep your brand top-of-mind and elevate the market’s brand perception

Live events at high-traffic locations, such as Orchard Road, will keep your brand top-of-mind and elevate the market’s brand perception

We have also thoroughly enjoyed working with the Singapore Tourism Board, most recently helping them host the Conference Ambassador Program (CAP) 10th Year Anniversary Gala. With CAP’s goal to position Singapore as the preferred venue for large congresses and exhibitions, it was such a privilege that Singapore Tourism Board chose My Private Chef to impress these association leaders. You can bet that the team pulled out all the stops to showcase the various measures that event organisers can take to exceed guests’ expectations during their own conferences’ hospitality events.

Setting the bar for creating spectacular conference hospitality event experiences with creative menu planning and bespoke venue décor

Setting the bar for creating spectacular conference hospitality event experiences with creative menu planning and bespoke venue décor

About their experience working with the team at My Private Chef, Jean Eng, Manager of Conventions Experience Development Group, Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau (SECB), had this to say:

“My Private Chef helped to put together an anniversary gala celebration for seventy of our C-suite guests and it went extremely well. If I had to highlight just three of their key strengths, it would be their creativity and spontaneity of ideas; receptiveness to clients’ brief and feedback; and passion and willingness to make sure every event is managed professionally and successfully for a memorable and unique event experience. Thank you for the excellent job — and we look forward to other opportunities in future!”

Find out more about how My Private Chef can help take your corporate hospitality experiences to the next level.

When Brands Unite Creating Win-Win Partnerships to Take Your Event to the Next Level

Brand partnerships can be a sensitive and tricky space to navigate, though if well-negotiated and executed, the upside is immense. In the case of two brands collaborating for an event, it could mean a maximum impact event for your guests, while the costs and effort would be split between two organisations.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that not every brand may be a suitable partner for your own. From experience, what has worked most effectively are two brands that are from different industries, but aligned in the demographic that they are looking to reach. Aside from demographic, alignment in values is also crucial to ensure that the relationship doesn’t run the risk of compromising what either brand stands for. This may come in the form of a bank or insurance company teaming up with a luxury watch or car brand, or a tech start-up company collaborating with an edgy fashion label. As they do not compete with one another in terms of offerings, but seek to reach out to the same clientele, this allows for the perfect synergy to whip up a unique event that may exceed one’s original resources.

Fine art, fancy cars and fantastic food converge for a night of decadence, targeting the perfect audience for McLaren, UOB and Christie’s Auction House

Fine art, fancy cars and fantastic food converge for a night of decadence, targeting the perfect audience for McLaren, UOB and Christie’s Auction House

While sharing the cost is one benefit of a collaborative event, the biggest win for both partners is that each gains value through the strengths that the other contributes. For example, some noteworthy brand collaboration events that My Private Chef have executed include luxe label, Shanghai Tang, providing a fashion show as entertainment and accessories for the door gifts to a bank’s Chinese New Year dinner for high net-worth clients; Maserati offering UBS’s top clients test drive experiences in their super cars; or a premium fashion house offering styling sessions at a CXO dinner for an Oil & Gas company.

Partners can bring all sorts of elements to elevate an event. Shanghai Tang, for example, contributes a fashion show as entertainment, but also gain an opportunity to showcase their collection to their target audience

Partners can bring all sorts of elements to elevate an event. Shanghai Tang, for example, contributes a fashion show as entertainment, but also gain an opportunity to showcase their collection to their target audience

To negotiate a collaboration where everyone wins, it is vital that both parties’ event vision, objectives and requirements are met. With each party contributing a different element, whether that be entertainment through fashion shows, high-calibre attendees, or money cannot buy experiences, being clear with each parties’ roles and responsibilities, as well as the key decisions being made will also ensure harmonious cohesion throughout the process.

Considered aspirational pursuits of the well-to-do, prestigious, artisanal watch brands like Patek Philippe are the perfect partner for a private bank’s client dinner event

Considered aspirational pursuits of the well-to-do, prestigious, artisanal watch brands like Patek Philippe are the perfect partner for a private bank’s client dinner event

Setting up a task tracker and scheduling check point meetings will provide visibility that both partners are owning their respective domains and that everything is in black and white to minimise miscommunication or general misses.

If managed well, both parties entering into the collaboration stand to have their brand equity enhanced purely by association with another brand also deemed aspirational in the eyes of the consumer. This, along with the complementary strengths or specialties that each partner brings to the table will be able to take your event to the next level.